How do cardless ATMs work?
During the pandemic, you may have noticed that you’re paying with cash less often, or have even stopped using it altogether.
Contactless payments have risen by a third since March 2020, with the majority of banks now offering the option to pay using a contactless card. As a result of the widespread adoption of this payment method, the UK government has increased the limit on contactless payments to £100 from October 2021.
This has been accompanied by the increased adoption of new technology, like mobile wallets and cashless payment systems. The widespread use of cardless ATMs has also increased significantly, allowing you to withdraw money whilst mitigating risk.
What are cardless ATMs and how do they work?
Cardless ATMs look like normal ATMs, but they allow you to withdraw cash without the need for a physical card.
There are several different types of cardless ATMs, so how you take out money depends on which one you’re using.
Some cardless ATMs use near-field communication technology (NFC). With secure apps installed on your mobile phone, you can access your digital wallet to withdraw the money from a cardless ATM by simply tapping your phone against the NFC symbol and entering your PIN.
Other ATMs rely on quick response technology (QR). Here, you first set the mobile withdrawal up on your mobile banking app. This pre-decided amount gets shown up on your phone screen in the form of a QR code that you show to the ATM QR code reader, and the cash gets delivered.
Both these innovations cater to customers who don’t like the risk or hassle of carrying their debit card.
Cardless ATMs are also not restricted by the usual limit, however the maximum amount you can withdraw is dependent on your bank. Major banks across the US and UK have started offering this feature with their accounts, with more being expected to follow.
How secure are they?
The majority of cardless ATMs use NFC to send data between the bank’s NFC-enabled terminal and the customer’s payment device.
This means that when you tap your mobile to pay, your account information and other details needed to process the transaction are tokenized and sent to the bank’s terminal. Tokenization means that the data won’t include your name, card details or any other important information linked to your account. Instead, it will be encrypted to allow the payment to be authenticated and processed, keeping your card details secure.
Other platforms such as PayPal have an app that generates a QR code for the customer to scan. Users can then enter the chosen amount and card PIN in the app to complete the transaction.
As the number of contactless payment options continues to grow, we could see banks trialing other methods of verifying transactions, such as biometric identification, in order to keep accounts secure.
Interested in learning more about innovative technology? Check out some of our other posts!
Three top trends of CES 2022
This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) took place a couple of weeks ago. Usually the biggest tech event of the year, here tech brands from all around the world come together to unveil the latest innovations set to hit the market.
While the COVID-19 pandemic meant that the show was virtual again this year, the event showcased lots of exciting technology to look forward to in 2022 and beyond. From electric vehicles to VR wearables, we take a look at the top trends of this year’s event.
The next generation of electric vehicles
With the number of electric vehicles on the rise, it’s no surprise that they played a big role at this year’s trade show. Mercedes unveiled their new Vision EQXX electric car, which can travel more than 1000km on a single battery charge and has a 95% energy efficiency rate. The car also has large display screens and an AI-generated voice assistant that is able to recommend energy efficient driving modes.
BMW also unveiled the world’s first colour changing car, the iX Flow. This uses electronic ink technology to change the colour of the car’s exterior in hot and cold climates. The car also has an 8K ultra-wide ‘theatre screen’, which unfolds from the car’s headliner accompanied by a Hans Zimmer soundtrack.
VR wearables of the future
With the metaverse becoming a big talking point in 2021, another big talking point at CES this year was virtual reality (VR). TCL demoed its NXTWear AIR Wearable Display Glasses, which have a 140-inch virtual screen and allow users to watch displays from a distance of up to four metres. These plug into your smartphone, tablet, or laptop and allow you to watch a video streamed from your device. They also have built-in speakers, allowing users to connect the headphones to a video source.
Sony also revealed its upcoming PlayStation 5 compatible VR headset, expected to launch later this year. This has a display resolution of 2000×4040 per eye and a 110 degree field of view. It also contains new features like eye-tracking, in-headset vibration and 3D audio, creating a deeper feeling of immersion.
Robots take a new form
Robots also played a big role at this year’s event. One of the most talked-about designs was the Ameca humanoid robot. Made by Engineered Arts, this is a lifelike robot able to blink and make facial expressions. It also has microphones in each ear, and is able to trace the direction of sound and answer questions.
Robots also took a different form this year with the Sea & Spray from John Deere, which won the CES innovation award in the robotics category. This is a tractor-like robot that uses computer vision and machine learning to detect between plants and weeds, and is able to spray herbicide on weeds between crops.
While these are some of the exciting trends from CES 2022, they are only a small selection of what the show had to offer. You can see the full list of the innovations announced at this year’s event by clicking here.
Interested in the technology mentioned in this post? Why not check out some of the following:
How are biometrics linked to my identity?
By now we’ve all become familiar with biometric authentication, using our unique characteristics such as face, voice and fingerprints to unlock our mobile devices, verify transactions, get access to our places of work (in some cases), amongst other things. In fact, we encounter biometrics so often in our everyday lives that we may not even realise it. But do you know why biometrics is linked to our identities?
Let’s begin with a brief history of biometrics.
Biometrics are your physical or behavioral characteristics that are unique to you. These include your tone of voice, hand shape, vein patterns, your eyes (all physical) and behavior such as your writing style, the way you use your keyboard and mouse, and others.
Using biometrics as means of identification is not new. It dates back to the 18th century when a British administrator in India named William James Herschel, had his subcontractors sign contracts with their fingers. The measurement of behavioral biometrics is not new either. It goes back to the 1860s when telegraph operators using Morse code recognised each other by the way they would send dash and dot signals.
The first time biometrics were used as part of scientific policing was at the end of the 19th century. A French police officer, Bertillon, used body measurement taken of specific anatomical characteristics to identify reoffending criminals.
But how does a computer system or your smartphone determine who you are just by your biometrics?
It’s worth noting that the term identity is used quite loosely in the context of biometrics, because there’s nothing in your voice, hand shape or any biometric to tell a computer your name, age or citizenship.
Official documents proving who you are such as your passport, ID, birth certificate, need to be presented at the moment of your enrollment into a biometric authentication system. During this stage, your biometric characteristics are recorded, linked and compared to the externally supplied personal identity information, to verify that no match exists. Once the enrollment is complete and the device ‘knows’ your identity, it can recognise you whenever you present the biometric characteristic recorded at the initial stage.
Biometric measures themselves cannot establish your name, citizenship and age, and do not prevent their misinterpretation during enrollment. However, they do stop a person from enrolling more than once under any identity.
Key purpose of biometrics
Biometrics can fulfil two main functions – authentication and identification. The first answers the question “Are you really who you say you are?”. In this case, biometrics allow your identity to be certified by comparing the data you provide with the pre-recorded information for the person you claim to be. The latter answers the question “Who are you?”, in which case you are identified as one, among others. This means that your data is compared with other people’s data stored in the same database to ensure there is no match.
There are many advantages of using biometrics as a form of identification. Some of the key ones include:
- Biometrics are universal – they can be found in all individuals.
- They are unique – they make it possible to differentiate one individual from another.
- Your biometrics don’t change over time, which means that they are permanent.
- They are also recordable, measurable (allowing for future comparison) and forgery-proof.
- It’s much harder for a fraudster to fool a system that uses your unique physical characteristic to verify your identity.
How to protect your biometric data
While biometrics can protect your personal information from falling into the wrong hands, you still need to be vigilant when using this technology. Here are a few tips to stay safe when using biometrics:
- Regularly update your software. If you use biometric verification on one of your devices such as your smartphone or tablet, make sure you always keep your software up to date. This will not only allow to add new essential security features to the software, but can also address bugs or security vulnerabilities.
- Be aware of who you’re presenting your biometric data to. You need to always be aware of who is storing your personal information and where.
- Check if you have the option to opt out. If you don’t want to use biometrics, remember that you may be able to avoid it by opting for another identity verification method. For example, Apple users can opt out of using Face ID in favor of leveraging a conventional password.
Interested to know more about biometrics? Check out some of our other posts on the topic here, and let us know if you have any questions in the comment section below:
Identity verification: how does it work, and is my data secure?
Have you ever been asked to take a selfie when signing up to a new bank?
This is known as identity verification. From opening a new bank account, to applying for a new driver’s license, it’s becoming an increasingly common way of authenticating someone when they sign up to a new service.
However, with 1.4 million cases of identity theft recorded last year, identity verification plays an important role in preventing the use of fake names and addresses and protecting personal information online.
So how does it work?
Identity verification is an authentication process that checks if someone is who they say they are. There are a number of different ways you could be asked to verify your identity, from scanning your passport to snapping a quick selfie. However, this will depend on the service you’re signing up for.
For example, when you open a new account on Airbnb, you may be asked to submit a photo of your ID. This can include a passport, driver’s license or identity card. Once scanned, the service analyses the alphanumeric data and other unique information displayed in the document, in order to check that it matches the details associated with the new account.
Other services like Monzo could ask you to take a selfie or a short video to confirm your identity. This works by analysing your face’s geometry, and matching the video to the ID document you’ve provided to confirm that it belongs to you.
How do I know if my data is secure?
While your personal information will largely be used to verify your identity, it can still be used for other purposes, like developing and managing products and services, or to detect fraud.
However, most services that collect your data have a series of policies in place to keep your data secure. For example, Lloyds Bank have a privacy notice that protects your personal data from being shared unless it is absolutely necessary – for example, when it is in the interest of public safety. Services like Monzo have also confirmed that the videos are solely taken to verify new accounts, and are only seen by a restricted number of employees.
Interested in finding out more about this technology? Why not check out some of our other blogs below:
Six IoT healthcare innovations to look out for in 2022
You may have heard of the term ‘internet of things’ (the IoT) before. This refers to a system of internet-connected devices that collect and transfer data over a wireless network.
While the IoT is rapidly evolving in several areas, from robots and driverless cars to drones, it’s also expanding into the healthcare industry, with the number of connected healthcare devices expected to exceed 50 billion in the next decade.
From fitness trackers to remote heart rate monitors, the number of devices able to receive and transmit patient data is continuing to expand. Below, we take a look at six key IoT healthcare innovations to look out for in 2022.
Remote patient monitoring
Remote patient monitoring is a key trend expected to dominate the IoT healthcare market in 2022. This involves using a connected healthcare device to collect medical data when patients aren’t in a healthcare facility. The device then securely forwards the data to a software application where healthcare professionals can review it. Algorithms may also be used to analyse the data collected and recommend specific treatments. For example, remote heart rate monitors are able to continuously measure and track a patient’s heart rate. These are also increasingly being incorporated into fitness bands and smart watches, enabling you to monitor your heart beat when you’re exercising and at rest.
Hand hygiene monitoring
Maintaining good personal hygiene and handwashing have been included as some of the key ways to protect yourself and others during the COVID-19 pandemic. While hand hygiene monitoring systems are being used in hospitals to remind staff and patients to sanitise their hands, a new Hand Washing feature has recently been introduced on the Apple Watch. This sets a 20-second timer when you start washing your hands, ensuring you are doing so for the correct amount of time.
Connected insulin pens
Another innovation set to hit the IoT healthcare market in 2022 is connected insulin pens. These measure and track the amount of insulin injected into a user’s bloodstream and send the data to a user’s smartphone. This can help patients with diabetes monitor their blood sugar levels, while also reminding users when they’ve missed a dose of their medication. Healthcare technology company Medtronic have recently released an InPen, with more smart insulin devices set to follow over the next few years.
Smart inhalers could be another IoT innovation rolled out more widely this year. These contain a sensor that records data about the time and date of use, before sending an alert to your mobile device. This is useful for tracking how often you use your inhaler, and reminding users when they’ve forgotten to take their medication. Smart inhalers are also able to detect whether you’re in a high pollution environment, making it easy to manage and control symptoms. However, these are still undergoing clinical trials and are not yet available from doctors or pharmacies.
Smart contact lenses
Another IoT device currently under development is smart contact lenses. These look like normal contact lenses, but contain an electronic mesh that detects and monitors temperature, light and glucose behind the eyelids. This is able to issue a warning to the user’s smartphone if their glucose or blood pressure levels are too high. While smart contact lenses are already helping doctors monitor patients with diabetes and heart disease, these could soon also help manage eye conditions including cataracts and glaucoma.
A final IoT innovation set to rapidly advance in 2022 is smart pills. These are small electronic devices shaped like paracetamol that contain ingestible sensors. Once swallowed, these travel down to the stomach and monitor important bodily functions including blood pressure and body temperature, before transmitting the data to a user’s smartphone via Bluetooth or a mobile app. While the first smart pill was approved for wider use back in 2017, researchers are also developing devices containing sensors able to detect disease once taken.
Interested in finding out more about the internet of things? Why not check out some of our other blogs:
6 Apps to Help You Keep Your New Years Resolutions in 2022
Happy 2022! It’s now officially the time of year where we look back at the previous year and begin setting ourselves often quite ambitious targets for the year ahead. Unfortunately, these resolutions don’t always stick, with only 26% of people admitting to keeping all of their New Year’s Resolutions. It can be tricky to commit to a routine – especially when trying to figure out the hectic work/life balance while working from home.
However, with the right help and equipment, keeping New Year’s Resolutions doesn’t have to be a struggle. Here’s our round up of some great apps to help with the most common New Year’s Resolutions.
Be More Mindful – Headspace
After two incredibly stressful years, at times it can feel impossible to clear your head. We’re often told to practice breathing exercises to feel calmer but, without guidance, effective breathing exercises can be difficult to locate and even more difficult to follow.
Headspace is an app filled with guided meditations for whatever mental state you’re in. You won’t be thrown in the deep end either, as Headspace has plenty of guided meditation lessons to train you into practicing effective meditation. Whether you’re focusing your mind with a short meditation or falling asleep with a Sleepcast – Headspace is a brilliant app to help you have a more mindful 2022.
Stop Killing Plants – Planta
Many of us took up gardening in the past year, especially after beginning to work from home. It’s nice to have something living keeping you company, even if it’s just a humble spider plant. However, going from novice gardener to plant parent isn’t easy – and your New Year’s resolution might be to simply keep a few of your plant children alive this year!
Planta allows you to individually register all of your plants and creates a personalised care plan based on what kind of plant it is. If you’re not sure, you can always take a picture and Planta will identify it for you! With reminders notifying you when to water, mist, clean and fertilise – Planta can help your plants see another year!
Start Cooking More – Kitchen Stories
While it may be true that homemade tastes better, a lot of the time eating out or ordering in are simply more convenient. However, the price of always going to restaurants or getting food delivered can seriously add up. Another great reason to cook at home is that you know exactly what’s going into your meal, meaning you can make sure you’re packing in your veg. You can even adapt some of your favourite recipes to be vegetarian or vegan!
One of the big problems with motivating yourself to cook is a lack of good recipes, however recipe apps can really help with that. Our current favourite is Kitchen Stories, an app that suggests new, tasty recipes to you everyday and guides you through them with easy-to-follow steps and video instructions! If you see something you like on another website, you can save it right to the app and have all your recipes in one place. There’s an integrated shopping list and even a tool for uploading your own recipes to the app! If you’re ready to become a real chef – try out Kitchen Stories!
Get Better With Money – Emma
Saving money is a big concern for people, and a very popular New Year’s Resolution. In a 2020 YouGov poll on the UK’s resolutions for 2021, 39% of people said their resolution was to ‘save more money’. This has raised by 4% since the 2019’s survey and is predicted to increase again in 2021.
Budgeting apps have been available in app stores for a long time, with some banks now including a budgeting feature within their mobile banking apps. We love the Emma app, as it keeps all your accounts in one place so you can track all your outgoing costs on a clear dashboard. Emma helps you to cancel subscriptions you may have forgotten you had, avoid overdrafts and set daily or weekly budgets. If you have multiple cards or accounts and want to reduce your spending, Emma can seriously help you out in the new year!
Be More Sustainable – Horizon
In 2021, all eyes have been on the unfolding climate crisis. After COP26, both the government and the general public have become more concerned about creating a more sustainable future, and many are hoping to do something about this in their own lives in 2022.
If this sounds like you, you’re in luck, as there’s no shortage of apps on the App Store and Google Play Store to help you become more sustainable. One of our favourites right now is Horizon, an app that aims to reduce plastic waste by helping you to recycle smarter. You simply need to scan the barcode of a product and Horizon will tell you where you can recycle that container near to you. The more you scan, the smarter the app gets, and can suggest more recycling tips to other users of the app. If you’re too busy to find out the cycling restrictions in your local area but still want to help out – Horizon is the app for you.
Get Active – Zombies, Run!
According to the 2020 YouGov poll, the UK’s top New Year’s Resolution for 2021 was ‘doing more exercise and improving my fitness’ – with 53% of participants wanting to get more active. With many people now working from their laptops inside, it’s no surprise we want to get out and improve our fitness.
There are a lot of running apps out there, so we’ve something a little different from the rest. Zombies, Run! is an immersive game and audio adventure designed to motivate you to run by putting you directly in the heart of a ‘saving the world from a zombie invasion’ story. You can run from zombie sounds, take certain routes to collect supplies – and yes, you are able to track your route. If you’re finding exercise repetitive and want something to give you that boost, pick up Zombies, Run! today.
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Four ways to keep your connected healthcare device secure
You may have heard of the term ‘Internet of Things.’
This refers to the growing number of devices connecting to the internet worldwide, including driverless cars, drones and smart home security systems.
Connected healthcare devices, like smart thermometers and wearable biosensors, are also forming a critical part of this network. They’re becoming increasingly common, with 50 billion devices predicted to be connected over the next ten years.
However, due to the highly sensitive nature of the data they handle and receive, connected healthcare devices are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks. These can have serious consequences for patient safety, medical staff and the healthcare industry as a whole.
So how can I keep my connected healthcare device secure? Here are five simple steps:
Reviewing what apps and services have access to your data
From heart-rate monitoring to biometric scanners, the medical Internet of Things (IoT) can encompass hundreds of devices at any one time. Therefore, it’s important to know who or what is accessing your data, and from where. Implementing access controls that specify which users, applications or services have access to certain devices’ data, and the operations they’re allowed to perform, can help control and restrict access to sensitive health information.
Change any default usernames and passwords once your healthcare devices are registered and connected to a network. Strong passwords containing a combination of letters, numbers and special characters can make it harder for hackers to access patient data stored on devices, and ideally are not re-used between services. It’s also important to consider multi-factor authentication, which requires two or more validation methods to access devices.
Patching all your networked systems
Patching devices across your network can help address security vulnerabilities by repairing flaws identified after new software is updated or installed. Malicious users typically look for the weakest link, so even if a healthcare device is up to date and protected by a secure password, if they can get past your home network or mobile device, they may find an easier route in. Keeping everything up to date and secure will make it harder on all fronts. It’s also important to regularly audit the devices already in your home to check whether any software needs updating.
As the vast majority of data stored in connected healthcare devices is extremely sensitive, it’s important to turn on data encryption in transit and at rest. This turns data into a series of numbers or ciphertext that can only be read with an encryption key, meaning hackers cannot decipher health information even if they gain access to the network.
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How to manage electric vehicle charging
In 2020 around 3 million electric cars were registered across the world, a 43% increase over 2019, with Europe leading the way for EV (electric vehicle) adoption. In the first quarter of 2021, global EV sales rose by 140%, compared to the same period the previous year. Looking ahead, it is anticipated that this growth will continue and the number of EV on our roads will reach 145 million by 2030.
With much focus on cutting carbon emissions, many people are considering making the switch sooner rather than later. However, a common anxiety amongst potential electric vehicle owners is how to manage charging. How, where and cost are all concerns that we will explore in this article.
How does electric vehicle charging work?
Much like charging your smartphone battery, charging an EV battery involves plugging it into mains electricity either at home or at a public charging station.
- Home charging
There are several options for charging your EV at home. You can simply use a normal socket and plug in as you would any other electrical device! However, using a dedicated EV home charger is often recommended as it can deliver more power, faster so that ‘filling’ up is less time consuming.
The cost of installing an EV home charging point varies. However, many governments are now offering EV owners grants to help with the costs of installing home charging devices so it is worth researching what financial support is available to help make the switch. For example, in the UK, the government is offering to cover up to 75% of this cost.
You may also like to consider which electricity provider you use as you may be able to cut costs by switching to a lower cost provider.
- Public charging
You may have seen public charging points in service stations, supermarket car parks or even at dedicated charging stations. In 2020, there were roughly 285,800 public charging stations for electric vehicles in Europe.
Many of these public points offer rapid charging which can top up a battery to 80% in just thirty minutes, while you shop. In fact, many places now offer free charging stations as an incentive to stop in. However, most charging stations do require you to pay a fee, either as a one-off as you would at a conventional petrol station but some also offer subscription models. They often allow contactless card payment, though some require you to download a smartphone app and set up an account.
Costs for charging at public points do vary, however the cost to fill up a battery is a fraction of filling up a tank of petrol or diesel.
Off-grid charging stations are also becoming more widespread. These are powered by solar energy and run on battery. Off-grid charging stations are usually located away from densely populated areas, but you can find them at high-traffic rural areas such as educational and healthcare facilities. They can be used at times when the grid is offline and other EV chargers are down.
- Work charging
It is worth noting that many employers now offer employees the opportunity to charge their cars at work in company car parks. Some employers even offer incentives for employees to make the switch to EV. It is worth asking your employer how they might support you to make the change as part of their commitment to lowering carbon emissions.
If you are interested in finding out more about how car technology is developing check out what’s the difference between an electric car, a connected car and a driverless car?
Google 2FA: What is it, and how can I set it up?
Ever had someone use your password to log in into your account? This could soon be a thing of the past.
Google is set to introduce two-factor authentication for the majority of its users by the end of this year. This means that users will need to provide additional security information when entering their password in order to log in to their account.
While Google initially suggested plans to enable two-factor authentication back in May, the new initiative will see an additional 150 million users enrolled by the end of 2021. It also follows several other platforms making the new measure mandatory, including Facebook and Microsoft.
So what is two-factor authentication, and how can I set it up?
Two-factor authentication (2FA) means adding an extra layer of security alongside your password to your account. This could be a one-time code sent via email, or a hardware key that you insert into your computer. This prevents someone from gaining unauthorised access to your account, even if they know your password.
Under Google’s new initiative users who regularly sign into their accounts on their mobile devices, or have recovery information like an alternative phone number, will be among the first to be automatically enrolled. While users will be notified seven days before their sign-in method changes, they’ll also be offered the option to immediately turn on 2FA.
Once enrolled, users signing into their accounts will be asked to enter their password before being sent a code via text, voice call or over the mobile app. They will then have to enter the code to log in, and verify their login attempt by tapping a prompt on their phone.
Once set up, you can choose to opt out of the process on your chosen device and switch to just using a password to sign in. Choosing this option means you’ll only be asked to complete the two-step verification process if someone tries to access your account from another device.
Google has also set up a dedicated backup codes page to help you log in without a one-time verification code. This issues 10 backup codes when you first enroll that can be used to gain access to your account if you lose your smartphone or security key.
How can I set it up?
You can check whether you’re already enrolled on 2FA by heading to Google Security Checkup. If not, you can set it up by following the steps below:
- Open your Google Account
- Head to the navigation panel and select Security
- Select 2-Step-Verification and tap Get started
- Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the set up.
Interested in finding out more about how to protect yourself online? Why not check out some of our other blogs:
Tech Christmas Gift Guide 2021 for the Hard-to-Buy-for
It’s that time of the year again where we experience the universal problem of the ‘hard-to-buy-for’ friend or family member. Running out of ideas is something that happens to us all, and without any guidance it can be tricky to sniff out the perfect Christmas present. Luckily, we’ve grouped together our favourite new tech in a handy Christmas gift guide to help you out!
For the smart home enthusiast – An Automatic Curtain Opener
If your house is slowly becoming populated with smart plugs and smart light bulbs, or you know somebody whose house is, take it one step further with an automated curtain opener!
Being woken up by natural light is a desire almost everyone, but not many people have the pleasure of enjoying – until now. With the SwitchBot Curtain Motor you can connect your curtain opener to your smart home device such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home, or to your smartphone, and program them to open or close under certain circumstances (e.g. time of day, day of week, etc.). With software like Apple’s HomeKit, IFTTT, Google Assistant and Alexa, you can connect multiple devices and have them work together.
If you know someone desperate to fill their house with gadgets, another smart device to add to their collection will always be a successful present!
For the future Olympic runner – A Next-Generation Fitness Tracker
No group of friends or family is complete without a health nut, and the highly anticipated Fitbit Charge 5 is the perfect gift for the avid runner or athlete in your life.
They can set personal goals and see real-time statistics on their workouts, meaning they’ll be able to see everything in one place. However, be prepared for them to overload you with impressive statistics!
Fitbit’s most advanced fitness and health tracker yet, the Charge 5 not only tracks workouts – but has a big focus on heart health. With an ECG application and notifications when one’s heart rate goes above or below their threshold, being mindful of heart health is easy and accessible.
For the metaverse explorers – A VR Headset
The metaverse is steadily approaching, but what to get the hardcore gamers in your life before it’s here? The answer: a VR headset. Virtual reality games have been around for a while now, and they’re only increasing in quality as the technology gets more advanced. Players can go from fulfilling a lifelong dream of seeing the world through Batman’s eyes to playing classic board game ‘Settlers of Catan’ as if they are in it! It’s not just games either, users can engage in fitness sessions, live events and hundreds of other experiences.
The Oculus Quest 2 is Meta’s (formerly known as Facebook) most recent answer to VR headsets and will most likely be what they will be testing the metaverse on. It has a high-resolution display and two touch controllers to interact with the virtual world. The Quest 2 is a futuristic gamer’s dream!
For the Grammy winner to be – A Digital Compact Keyboard
Digital music producing is an endless platform for creativity which we’ve seen firmly wedge its way into almost all music genres. If you’ve got a music creative in your life who’s also into tech – they’re sure to want to play around with this new piece of kit.
There’s only so many fingers one can use to play chords on a guitar, but the possibilities of what can be created on a digital platform is limitless. The MiniLab Mk II from Arturia is a compact keyboard that plugs into a computer via USB to be integrated into your chosen music making software. The 8 pads can be configured and used for beat making, project control and a variety of other options. The dials and pitch bend strips allow for control over anything the musician desires.
Get this for the music maker in your life and you might get a song or two written for you!
For the green thumb in training– Gift them a Smart Indoor Garden
One of the most popular hobbies we got into over the pandemic was gardening, including those of us without gardens. However, not all of our plants made it through – and there are definitely some who prevailed over others. If you know someone who likes gardening but might need a bit of help, this is the gift for them.
The Click & Grow 3 is a smart plant pot that knows the needs of your plants and helps them out accordingly! To start, grab some of their biodegradable plant pods filled with seeds and nutrients and add water. The Click & Grow will automatically water your plants and provide them with the optimal amount of light with their ‘pro-grow’ lights.
An excellent gift for gardeners, cooks and those who are always in a rush – the Click & Grow 3 is a great way to get invited round to try some homegrown food.
For the fashion forward – Smart Sunglasses
Wearable tech has been around for a while, but it hasn’t been the most stylish – more sci fi than high fashion. However, as technology continues to evolve, it’s becoming a lot more wearable and makes a great gift for a fashion forward tech lover.
Sunglasses are a popular choice for wearable tech, and the Ray-Ban Stories are a stylish pair that incorporate dual cameras, speakers and a microphone into a classic Ray-Ban frame. Developed in collaboration with Facebook, the sunglasses come with a companion app where the pictures and videos taken from the glasses’ cameras can be viewed and downloaded. You can take calls, listen to music, take photos and look undeniably cool throughout.
The Ray-Ban Stories come in three different frames and a variety of colours, so you can pick a style that befits the lucky receiver of this fashionable gift!
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